British Lung Foundation

Do I need a Psychiatrist


Just no sure if I am neurotic! Had left bullectomy and pleurodesis 5 months ago and had loads of residual pain - sternum, pins and needles burning etc. Investigations clear( Ish). COPD stage 2 and starting to find exercise difficult and work harder but taking it easier to reduce stress etc and waiting for pulmonary rehab. Have been told "this is it.....come back when you find it more difficult to breath". Get feeling from GP that I am neurotic when I tell them SOB getting worse and have aching pains where Bullae was etc etc. Am I normal or should I go to see a shrink?

4 Replies

An interesting one. I have been told many times that I was anxious and needed cognitive behaviour therapy by doctors with no psychiatric or psychological training because I was going back to them with severe symptoms and they insisted that there was nothing wrong with my lungs. So I called their bluff: three counsellors, one health trainer and a clinical psychologist can find no evidence for any psychological component in my condition, there is no evidence of anxiety depression, and CBT would not be appropriate as they said I think about things very rationally. And now, of course, I have all that on paper. So, yes, if doctors are telling you that you have mental health issues ask to be referred. They cannot have it both ways. You have not a lot to lose. In my case it took four years to get part of the diagnosis of my lung disease, another two to get a bit more, and there is still a little bit unexplained. The rest may have to wait for the post mortem....

All the best


hi interesting question both procedures I had in 2013 , interest to now if you had key hole surgery or did they cut you from back to front to do op , I was cut from back to front still get pains on that side , funny feeling , numbness . which I would say is normal , they cut through muscle and nerves so it has to repair its self and knit together . the consultant I see said it is often there is nerve damage which will explain some of the pain and numbness , I would say all that your feeling is normal if its not then it makes two of us so your not alone , I done a 6 min walk test with a consultant I had to stop a few times because sort of breath when he asked me why did you stop I said because I couldn't breath his answer was but you shouldn't have been because you sats didn't drop , I nearly said I don't give a s*** whether my sats drop or not I know when I cant breath , I would say 5 months after op is still early days you still need longer to recover , hope every thing goes ok for you , take care


Hi Mm, I wish I had a fiver for every time someone said to me ' but your SATS are fine ' when I am struggling to breathe.


I agree with Katinka, if your GP thinks you have mental health issues then ask for a referral, as they can't have it both ways. After all the publicity about mental illness they can't then pretend it doesn't exist. You may or may not be neurotic and anxious but being dismissive is not a treatment. You may just need someone to offload on to, someone who is not a family member. You have been through a lot and are quite entitled to feel as though you have been through a storm. Post operative and neural pain can last for ages. I hope you get all you need and deserve xx


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